Trees are a grand symbol of health and strength throughout the world. In The Sacred Heart of a Tree, a story from southern Africa, a rabbit is invited inside a tree where it finds a beautiful garden filled with precious jewels. Because the rabbit is respectful, only admiring all it sees, the tree gives it a jewel. When a jackal gets the same choice, it behaves, as you might expect, like the bull in the proverbial and steals everything it can lay its hands on. The bull in the china shop is a neat way to sometimes explain our children’s energy, and now the weather’s warming up they and you may be inspired to get outdoors for some creative play. There’s research now showing that outdoor time changes the way young students behave – for the better. One Canadian school has the mantra: If they don’t go home dirty, they haven’t had a good day. While the grown ups might blanche as your kids start climbing trees or undertaking major backyard excavations, outdoor play is healthy and necessary part of their development.
Dragonfly Toys has a beautiful selection of toy treehouses, and the toys and parts that go with them, suitable for kids aged three and upwards. “This is a marvellous way to get your children thinking about the natural world,” said Joanne Kian at Dragonfly Toys. “We have families of elves and even loungeroom and kitchen furniture for them.” The treehouses are a wonderful way to inspire your children’s imaginations, and the all-natural materials they are crafted from help children relate to their natural world – something we can all encourage. And as for the jackal in the heart of the tree? There are two endings. In one the tree encases the jackal forever, and in the other, it ditches the animal into a thorn bush. It’s a lovely allegory for how we treat our world, and in return are treated by it.